Dove is our latest chicken addition. Our friend Anne Corinne Kell, who owns Sun Circle Farm, gave her to us. Brought her over in a cardboard cat carrier. Dove is a special bird, has the color and disposition of a dove. I was going to name her Chicken, but she is not chicken-like. Freebird is chicken like – loud and demanding. It’s not a great name, but it is fitting. Having her here makes me feel better about the fact that the animal numbers in the upper shed area is at an all-time low. At one point in time we had three chickens and three goats. We were down to one goat and one chicken. I would like to get another chicken and two more goats. We will be getting another goat from Cottonwood Creek Farm in May, a milker named Stormy. What follows is a recent conversation that I had with Freebird and Dove.
Alys: Hey birds, how’s it going?
Freebird: It’s still cold and windy in the pen, but there’s now a lot more daylight.
Dove: Daylight is good. I have never enjoyed hanging out in the dark.
F: Dove is my new companion.
D: Yes, I am Freebird’s new companion.
A: Dove, I trust you are settling in okay.
D: It’s way different here than what I’m used to.
A: What are you used to?
D: I previously shared space with lots of other chickens. And our pen was brightly lit and had a heater. No heater, though the roost is lit. I feel like I am roughing it.
F: You ARE roughing it.
A: But at least you now have one another.
F: Dove -- I used to live where you came from. I know how different things must be for you here.
D: I miss my many buddies.
F: I came from where you came from. But I don’t miss my Sun Circle buddies. I miss being able to roam free. That’s what I did there. I hung out in the garden all day – I shit everywhere.
A: Both of you – when the weather’s good, I’ll let you both out in the yard. And I’ll take you down to the hoop house.
F: How come we can’t live outside?
D: It’s far too cold out there for that!
F: What are you, some kind of wimp?
A: I am not letting you out of my sight because I fear that something might eat you.
D: What would eat us?
A: A hawk might swoop out of the sky and lift you up and take you away.
F: This didn’t happen when I ranged free.
D: Well there is always a first time.
A: And a last time. But I’m going to watch out for you both. Which reminds me . .
Eggs. Dove, are you a layer?
D: Oh yes I am. I will soon begin laying an egg a day.
D: When it gets warm again. It’s really hard on the butt, laying eggs when it’s cold.
F: Please spare us the details.
A: Freebird, don’t cut her off. Spare us the details.
D: I will soon lay eggs. I promise.
A: Even if you don’t, this is now your home. And like at Sun Circle, where you both came from, you are both loved.
F: What’s most important is that you keep the food and water coming.
D: I think that being loved is very important.
A: So do I.
F: Yes, love is important. But a bird’s gotta eat.
D: She’s so demanding.
A: Yes I know. Dove, we need to work on her, get her to mellow out some.
D: Yes, yes we do!
Next:82. 3/23/17: The Writing Life: Making Connections Public